Nature Needs Half: A Necessary and Hopeful New Agenda for Protected Areas

  Nature Needs Half: A Necessary and Hopeful New Agenda for Protected Areas Written by: Harvey Locke Published in: IUCN PARKS Journal, Volume 19.2, 2013 Abstract:  Conservation targets should be based on what is necessary to protect nature in all its expressions. When in 1988 the Brundtland report called for tripling the world’s protected area estate (which was then at 3 to 4 per cent of the land area) there was a strong belief that sustainable development would ensure the proper care for nature on the rest of the unprotected earth. This has proven wrong. We therefore must materially shift our protected areas target to protect at least half of the world, land and water, in an interconnected way to conform with what conservation biologists have learned about the needs of nature. Instead we have set goals that are politically determined, with arbitrary percentages that rest on an unarticulated hope that such non-scientific goals are a good first step towards some undefined better future outcome. This has been a destructive form of self-censorship. It is time for conservationists to reset the debate based on scientific findings and assert nature’s needs fearlessly. >> Read the full article:  ...
The Flathead River Valley

The Flathead River Valley

By: Austin Perez The Flathead River Valley is a vast area of magnificently beautiful wilderness that spans across the United States/Canada border from British Columbia to Montana. Conservation groups have just announced that more than $10 million in private and public funds have been acquired to protect the Flathead River Valley from mining and oil and gas development. In doing so, a major step has been taken towards ensuring the conservation of this remarkable area of wild nature. For over 20 years, environmentalists have been working to ensure the protection and conservation of the Flathead River Valley as a critical element of a mission to preserve wild nature from Yellowstone to Yukon.  “Y2Y” is a great example of a large-scale, transboundary conservation practice promoting ecosystem connectivity that perfectly exemplifies the Nature Needs Half approach to conservation. Please check out The WILD Foundation’s blog post for more information about the great news regarding Flathead...

Heaven and Hope

The Wilderness Society 2010-2011, “Heaven and Hope” written by Jeff Rennicke The lands that belong to all Americans have long provided wilderness, recreation, and heavenly scenery. Now, scientists say, protecting them just might hold our best hope of saving the planet. Excerpt: “As confusing as these numbers seem, one number is increasingly clear, says Harvey Locke of The WILD Foundation: 50 percent. For decades, according to Locke, conservationists pushed for protection of 10 to 12 percent of the Earth as a “politically acceptable” goal. “When those other targets were set they were bold and visionary,” he says, “but the world has changed and those…targets no longer conform to what we’ve come to understand scientifically nor to the current very serious conditions that exist around the world for nature.” His ambitious goal is the target of a new program called “Nature Needs Half,” which seeks the designation of at least 50 percent of the world’s terrestrial surface to  a level defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. That would require the protection of some tribal, corporate, and private lands, yet its success will depend mostly on the protection of our cherished public lands. >Read the full article by Jeff...
Wild Oceans!

Wild Oceans!

By: Vance G. Martin The great Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is one of the planet’s most important marine habitats, upon which many of the other oceans,  seas and marine wildlife depend.  In October 2011, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) called for the creation of a network of marine protected areas and no-take marine reserves in 19 specific areas.  A keystone in this plan is their proposal to designate the Ross Sea, the huge horseshoe shaped area south of New Zealand and surrounded on three sides by Antarctica, as a 3.6 million sq kilometer protected marine reserve.  This is an unprecedented opportunity to establish the world’s largest network of marine protected areas and no-take marine reserves.  Sylvia (Earle) is one of the real movers in this Alliance and on this initiative, along with Edward Norton and Richard Branson.  This is Nature Needs Half in action and everyone can help!  AOA has created a “Join the Watch” campaign, and you can sign on now, download the report and see a great video here. Speaking of marine, have you heard what Sylvia Earle says about Nature Needs Half? >Antarctic Ocean Alliance Launch Press...

Social Indicators Research 2011

By: Alan E. Watson, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station The Role of Wilderness Protection and Societal Engagement as Indicators of Well-Being: An Examination of Change at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Abstract: A societal decision to protect over 9 million acres of land and water for its wilderness character in the early 1960s reflected US wealth in natural resources, pride in the nation’s cultural history and our commitment to the well-being of future generations to both experience wild nature and enjoy benefits flowing from these natural ecosystems. There is no question that our relationship with wilderness has changed. Individually it is probably quite easy to examine differences in the role wilderness plays in the quality of our lives today compared to some previous time. But how the role of wilderness protection has changed for society is more difficult to describe. In only a few places do we have data across multiple decades that would allow us to even examine how users or their use may have changed over time. At the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota we are fortunate to have multiple studies that can give us some 40 years of insight into how some aspects of use have changed there. For example, an analysis of results of visitor studies at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1969, 1991 and 2007 reveal some big differences in who is out there today, most notably the presence of a much older, more experienced and better educated user population, almost exclusively white and predominantly male. It is time to decide...
Australia Continental Corridors Plan

Australia Continental Corridors Plan

By: Vance G. Martin The first continental scale plan for ecological corridors has been produced in Australia, and is now out for comment. Members of The World Commission on Protected Areas of the IUCN were the driving force. Our colleagues at the Mountain Biome Working Group of WCPA have made further information available. Here is a brief overview from Penny Figgis, Regional CoChair of WCPA: The WCPA network played a major role over the last 6 years in championing the connectivity concept through submissions, letters, personal representations and being centrally involved in key meetings, such as the two Linking Landscapes Forums, and the drafting of major documents such as the Kingscliffe Communique. Individually, many members have been the pioneers, scientists, policy experts and overall champions of the concept of integrated landscape approaches as a whole and of particular initiatives. (Many people over) many years of outstanding work brought us to this point of major national policy endorsement. The draft report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment, The Hon Tony Burke MP, was prepared by the National Wildlife Corridors Advisory Group, a Group which was chaired by the Hon Bob Debus AM and supported by other WCPA members including Vice Chair for Mountains and Connectivity Graeme Worboys and Prof. Brendan Mackey. This is the first whole-of-continent approach to connectivity conservation for the world and recognises a range of different corridors at different scales , including, importantly, a few select and strategic (yet to be designated) National Wildlife Corridors. The draft report also advises that new Legislation is proposed to be introduced later this year to formalise the implementation...
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